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2020/21 Summer Camping Plans Announced

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has today announced plans to promote responsible and sustainable camping across the district this summer, after receiving $509k of funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for Responsible Camping initiatives.

The intention is to continue providing resources which focus on educating campers, monitoring behaviour and enforcement where required, along with gathering data from campers in the Queenstown Lakes district.

Mayor Jim Boult said he was anticipating a busy season for the district as COVID-19 international travel restrictions would lead to more New Zealanders taking a domestic holiday.

“New Zealanders are being encouraged to explore their own backyard and we’re expecting plenty of campers to visit the beautiful Queenstown Lakes district,” Mayor Boult said.

There will not be any Responsible Camping Service Hubs this summer, with campers on the move recommended to utilise the many campgrounds available throughout the district and support local businesses. Sites in Queenstown and Wānaka will be made available free of charge for recycling and dumping rubbish.

QLDC General Manager Community Services, Thunes Cloete said that eight Responsible Camping Ambassadors would be employed to roam the district and act as a friendly face of responsible camping, with four based in the Wakatipu area and the Upper Clutha respectively.

“Our Ambassadors’ focus will once again be to educate visitors on how to camp in our district in a sustainable and responsible way, while also promoting local campgrounds, gathering data and identifying trouble spots should they arise,” Dr Cloete said.

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Signage and information boards are in place to ensure campers are aware of where they can and can’t camp in the Queenstown Lakes district, with clear details on what constitutes a self-contained vehicle.

Dr Cloete also touched on the increased coverage and greater visibility of Enforcement Officers during the previous summer, noting that their presence was particularly well received in townships like Luggate, Glenorchy and Kingston.

“We were able to provide a greater level of consistency in applying enforcement across the district, with staff able to access DoC land and infringe those in breach of our Responsible Camping Bylaw,” Dr Cloete said.

Enforcement resources will continue over the 2020/21 period, ensuring growing coverage of Glenorchy Road and the Crown Range, along with Gibbston, Hāwea, Wānaka and the Red Bridge site near Luggate.

Dr Cloete noted that QLDC continued to learn from previous summer seasons and factor those lessons into their plans, drawing from discussions with commercial operators and feedback received from campers and Ambassadors.

“We’ve always said that these summer initiatives are trials and that we want to remain flexible enough to alter our approach,’ Dr Cloete said.

“With COVID-19 leading to a highly-altered summer ahead, we believe this season’s initiatives will meet the needs of our community and protect our environment, while also providing a world-class camping experience for those who visit the Queenstown Lakes district.”

Mayor Boult added that most campers in the district are responsible and treat our delicate landscape with respect, but the poor behaviour of a small minority of campers continues to be a cause of concern.

“With the expectation that our district will host more domestic campers this summer compared to the usual number of international visitors, I’m looking forward to noting whether there are behavioural differences between these groups. This will be valuable for future camping strategies,” Mayor Boult said.

The $509k of funding received from MBIE will be used for Responsible Camping initiatives over the summer camping season.

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